Avatar photo Date: 23rd January 2024 at 10:10am
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Whenever you have a bad run of form over Christmas, it’s always timely for the January transfer window to help improve the squad. Those who enjoy FA Cup betting would have been disappointed in two ways, not one, with Arsenal dropping out despite a reasonable performance. There has been just one obvious problem in these recent games (Palace excluded), which is not putting away chances.

As each season passes, Financial Fair Play continues to play a bigger role in transfer windows. For Arsenal, it was never a factor. While some teams, like Chelsea, occasionally grappled with the rules, Arsenal’s issues were often a lack of spending, rather than spending too much. But, this has all changed since Arteta’s tenure, where he has seemingly been better backed than Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery. Though, the latter did spend around £150 million in 18 months, and we may be feeling the repercussions of that today.

Arsenal’s Transfer Window Strategy

Arsenal’s transfer strategy in recent years has been high in spending, bringing in the likes of high-profile talent in Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, and Jurrien Timber. These acquisitions reflect the club’s ambition but also raise questions about their financial sustainability under FFP rules. The recent slump in form, including defeats to West Ham and Fulham, has exposed a critical gap in the squad: the lack of a consistent goal-scoring striker. Given that Arsenal’s xG and chance creation have been strong, particularly in the Liverpool FA Cup defeat, it’s clear that the issue is with finishing.

This shortfall has led to links with Brentford’s Ivan Toney, a move that could provide the necessary firepower upfront. However, Mikel Arteta has hinted that internal solutions could be explored, suggesting a cautious approach to spending in January. The reason is likely down to FFP complications.

FFP Constraints and Arsenal’s Financial Position

While Arsenal has been a healthy, profitable club for many years, it doesn’t make them immune to FFP limits, particularly after some big windows. After Everton’s 10-point deduction, it’s clear that this isn’t a game that Arsenal to be messing around with.

The £200 million spree brought Arsenal closer to the FFP threshold, creating a delicate balance for future investments. With the club back in the Champions League, there’s an influx of revenue, but this is counterbalanced by the need to invest in the squad to stay competitive.

The rule that Everton broke was a simple one, you’re only allowed to lose £105 million over three years – this is a rule that Arsenal will be cautious of, but also a rule that is quickly timed out.

Arsenal have substantial net spend in the past three years, and this explains why David Raya was brought in on a loan-to-buy — it’s a clear indication of being close to FFP limits. The same tactic could be used in January, of course, but it’s not always favoured by the receiving club, who may want their revenue upfront with a purchase for their own FFP concerns. This could mean that Arsenal seek out a cheaper option, or more likely, wait until the summer. 2021 was a year that had large losses, and this is the year that will go from being counted now (January) to being excluded by the summer.

Conclusion

With Manchester City’s poor form this year, many fans will claim it’s a great chance to win the league. And, this is the argument behind getting a striker in January. But, Arteta may take the Liverpool approach, which means not panicking and instead waiting for the right opportunity to buy your first choice target. Which, seemingly, could be Ivan Toney.

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